Exploring social properties in vehicular ad hoc networks
Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks (VANETs) enable car-to-car communication without the support of network infrastructure, which introduce diverse application possibilities and have drawn much attention from academy and industry in the past years. Unlike other ad hoc networks, nodes in VANETs are restricted to move in streets and have limited communication ranges. Intuitively, vehicle-to-vehicle communication somehow has similarity to human-to-human interaction, which lead to an interesting question of exploring the social properties of VANET nodes. To address the question, we consider encounters of vehicles as their social relationships and model VANETs as social graphs. Based on the social graph model, we use two traces of mobile vehicles from San Francisco and Shanghai to explore their social properties. Our analysis show that several universal laws of social network are hold for VANETs. The social graphs forming by vehicles are scale-free networks with power-law like distribution of node degrees. Small world phenomenon is also observed in our experiments: the nodes in VANETs have high cluster coefficient and there exist short paths between node pairs less than 3 hops on average. The implication of our analytical results is of benefit to develop large scale software system for mobile applications such as VANETs, as well as helps to facilitate inter-device wireless communications in pervasive environment.